Specialists in writing and editing

‘I am being biased, of course, but the best scene-setter I’ve ever written was for one of the chapters in the best book I’ve ever edited. It was about Nelson Mandela – and it went like this….

“A buzz of excitement swept through the 4,000 crowd as a brown sedan, escorted by three helicopters, came slowly into view. Convinced that the big moment had at last arrived, the crowd edged forward. When the car reached the outer security gates of the Victor Verster Prison, it stopped – and for a few seconds everyone, even the police and the marshals with their walkie-talkies seemed to hold their breath. Then a door opened and a photographer, his voice shaking with emotion, shouted: ‘He’s walking … he’s walking to his freedom!'”

Dougie Oakes is justifiably proud of his introduction to the chapter entitled ‘Democracy or Destruction?’ in the bestselling Reader’s Digest Illustrated History of South Africa – the Real Story.

And he is also immensely proud of the book itself.

The BBC World Service chose the Illustrated History as its Book of the Week, with its reviewer saying: ‘Simply the best, the most accessible and the most accurate popular history of South Africa I have ever read.’

And, in adding his praise, the South African academic, Dr Tom Lodge, wrote: ‘To have made history into a mass commodity while retaining so much of the complexity and integrity of the original specialist literature is a monumental achievement. It is an accomplishment which has few parallels either in scope or sophistication.’

Many ordinary people were as impressed. The Illustrated History sold more than 200,000 copies in South Africa and about 40,000 in the UK, the USA, Canada and Australia.

Over the next few years, Oakes wrote or edited (or often both) a number of high-selling books for the company, including You and Your Rights (100,000-plus copies), South Africa from the Highway, Your Medical Questions Answered, and Live Longer Cookbook.

At Dougie Oakes Communications, we love editing books; it is substantially different from churning out newspaper articles. But we are as comfortable writing and editing magazines, especially in-house publications.

If you need help with your writing or editing, then contact us today.

Dougie Oakes Communications also offers the following services: